For a time Saturday afternoon, mojo was working in the favor of the Oregon Ducks. They rebounded well from their crushing loss to Stanford last week, and bashed Oregon State, 48-24, without a lot of problem.
About the time that game was getting over, Florida State had come from a 13-0 deficit to lead Florida, 20-13, a result Oregon — ranked No. 5 this week in the BCS standings — needed to squeeze back into the national-championship running.
Alas for Oregon, Florida has blown away Florida State in the second half with a run of 24 straight points, winning 37-26, and that appears to end the Ducks’ shot at getting to the title game. Florida was No. 4 in last week’s BCS standings, so even if top-ranked Notre Dame doesn’t get it done tonight against USC, the Gators would appear first in line to be the beneficiary of any prospective upset in LA. (Florida State was No. 10 in the BCS standings and Oregon State was 15th.)
Nos. 2 and 3 are Alabama and Georgia, respectively, and they’re playing in the SEC title game next week, with the winner headed to the national-title game. Notre Dame would be the opponent if it beats USC, but if the Irish fall — and a lot of people will shortly be crowded around TVs in places like Gainesville and Orlando and St. Petersburg — the apparent opponent is Florida.
If Notre Dame loses, everybody ready for another all-SEC title game — a year after the concept was roundly booed around the country?
As for Oregon, the Ducks were awaiting the result of UCLA-Stanford (with a 3:30 p.m. start) to know more about their future. If UCLA wins, the Bruins go to Eugene for the Pac-12 title game. If Stanford prevails, the Cardinal hosts the Bruins for the championship.
The league would stand to benefit from a Stanford victory, because Oregon looks like an obvious choice for the Fiesta Bowl, and that would give the Pac-12 two BCS teams, improved bowl slots for teams down the line in the pecking order — and about half a million dollars extra per school.